Is your growing midsized company too big for its accounting software and ready for functionality that supports a wider range of business operations?Your best bet maybe to implement a modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.
For more than 20 years, ERP systems have helped companies achieve profitable growth by maintaining tighter control over their business processes. Meanwhile, software vendors have consistently enhanced the functionality and usability of their systems.
You can now find dozens of ERP systems that may appear meet most of your needs—but that doesn’t mean all systems are created equal. The ERP system you choose today should support your growth over at least the next five to ten years. Choose wisely, and you can garner a significant ROI from your implementation. Choose the wrong system, and you could be in for a costly replacement that causes significant disruption to your business activities.
What should you keep in mind as you evaluate systems? Here are 9 tips for choosing the right ERP solution.
- Consider how many business entities you have (or plan to have).
You may think that as the years go by, your company will remain much the same as it is now—only bigger and more profitable. But you can’t foresee every business opportunity. What if you end up launching a whole new line of products or services that would be best managed as a separate business entity?
Don’t get stuck on an ERP that doesn’t support multiple entities. Acumatica Cloud ERP gives you the intercompany accounting capabilities you’ll need to settle the books across all your business divisions.
- Make sure you’ll be able to produce reports without burdening IT.
ERP systems collect and allow you to analyze vast amounts of data—and that’s a good thing. But traditional ERP systems didn’t make it very easy to get the data out of them. Business users had to work with IT to generate the reports they needed for their day-to-day decision-making.
The good news is that today’s better ERP systems come with prebuilt reports that put data at your fingertips—and these reports are easy to customize without the need to write code. Learn about Acumatica ERP’s reporting features.
- Carefully evaluate each vendor’s industry-specific functionality.
Core ERP functionality can help any business run better. But that doesn’t mean one size fits all. Depending on which industry you’re in, you may have specialized business processes that you need your ERP platform to support.
If so, choose an ERP vendor that offers modules tailored for your industry.
- Demand sophisticated CRM functionality built in, rather than implementing a separate solution.
For too many ERP vendors, CRM seems to be an afterthought. They either don’t provide any CRM functionality because they figure you’ve already implemented your own solution, or they offer very basic CRM features that won’t help your company grow.
Hold out for an ERP platform that integrates CRM into all your business activities. Acumatica Cloud ERP offers CRM built right into the product.
- Consider how you’ll build integrations.
Let’s face it: even the most comprehensive ERP platform isn’t going to meet every business need. Even after your implementation, you’ll continue using other software applications to manage specific business processes. But you’ll want your ERP platform to be your system of record—the one solution that all other solutions talk to. That way, you can maintain a single version of the truth for all your business data.
So, be sure your ERP vendor provides a powerful application programming interface (API) that makes it easy to integrate your systems. One example is Acumatica’s API.
- Figure out your ideal implementation scenario and then make sure your solution supports it.
Many fast-growing companies are intrigued by the idea of using cloud software that’s hosted elsewhere and places minimal demands on the IT team. But some would prefer to implement their new ERP platform on-site. And still others envision a hybrid model in which some modules are installed in the corporate data center or server room and others are hosted.
If you’re not sure about which type of deployment will work best for you over the years to come, make sure you choose a cloud ERP vendor that offers deployment flexibility. Acumatica Cloud ERP isn’t just a hosted solution—it also gives you the option of deploying on-site or in a hybrid model, and even changing as your needs dictate.
- Make sure your solution will work on all your devices.
Your employees are probably already performing more and more business functions on their mobile devices. This trend used to present a challenge to IT teams. But today’s best cloud ERP systems are designed to deliver content and functionality to a wide range of devices while keeping your systems and data safe from unauthorized access.
For example, Acumatica Cloud ERP is built to provide the same functionality on any device while also leveraging the unique capabilities of each device. Find out how.
- Consider how maintenance and upgrades could disrupt your business activities.
If you implement an on-premises ERP system, you’ll be responsible for maintaining it so that it continues to run well. You’ll also need to upgrade it regularly so that you don’t get left behind on an unsupported version of the software. Both of these processes may require you to take your system offline, which will decrease productivity.
Cloud ERP systems reduce this burden because they’re maintained and upgraded by the vendor. But some cloud ERP solutions release a couple of major upgrades per year, which can disrupt your business processes. Acumatica Cloud ERP, on the other hand, continuously releases enhancements throughout the year and makes upgrades as painless as possible. Learn more about ERP version upgrades.
- Consider your total cost of ownership (TCO).
Our last tip may be our most important: when you’re considering the cost of any potential ERP solution, be sure to look at more than the sticker price. Consider how much the solution will cost you over time.
Did you know that most cloud ERP vendors charge you by the number of users you add to the system? That means that even users who only log on twice a month must have a license just like your daily users. By contrast, Acumatica charges you only for the computing resources you use.
You should also take into account how much your ERP system will cost you in terms of ongoing hardware costs, maintenance expenses, and people costs. To estimate your long-term costs, try the Acumatica TCO calculator.
Remember: your new ERP system will have a profound effect on your company’s efficiency and productivity over the next five to 10 years. We hope these tips help you make the right choice.